Critical thinking in the flesh: movement and metaphors in a world in flux

Laura Colucci-Gray*, Donald Gray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Confronted with the global social, economic and environmental crisis, critical questions have been raised as to the purpose and practices of education vis a’ vis the future, from the field of philosophy of biology to anthropology and the cognitive sciences. Arguably, the question of whether, or the extent to which, biology education is actively interfacing with these debates remains unexplored. Starting from the more established definition of critical thinking as a skill that can be taught and applied by students to the redefinition of existing conceptual schemas, this chapter will first discuss the value and the limitations of ‘teaching for critical thinking’ whereby ‘thinking’ is separate from ‘doing’. In the second part of the analysis, we will discuss recent perspectives on critical thinking highlighting the role of language tools and context in shaping the ability to formulate new thoughts. Finally, drawing upon recent contributions from the field of enactivism, we foreground the role of metaphorical thinking, located within an inherently embodied understanding of oneself in the world. Drawing on some illustrative examples from practice in teacher education, this chapter will include excerpts of students’ contributions to highlight the intersections between different theoretical perspectives, and will advance the central role of visual aesthetics in the development of a critical consciousness vis a’ vis environmental issues.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCritical Thinking in Biology and Environmental Education
Subtitle of host publicationFacing Challenges in a Post-Truth World
EditorsBlanca Puig, María Pilar Jiménez-Aleixandre.
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-92006-7
ISBN (Print) 978-3-030-92005-0
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022

Publication series

NameContributions from Biology Education Research,
ISSN (Print)2662-2319
ISSN (Electronic)2662-2327


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